If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Nate’s contract will finish in June and we’re finding ourselves faced with the incredibly exciting and overwhelming decision of where to go next. We know we’re not ready to go back to the States yet, if we can help it. Living in American Samoa has been the most rewarding experience of our lives and we’re on the lookout for another such experience. Then, there’s the small task of finding a job that will take us to one of the places we want to go, but we’re working on that.
For you, my readers, I’ve put together my 2019 wishlist of the top 19 places I would love to live, for the next year or two. If you remember my Top 18 in ’18 Travel Bucketlist, we were able to cross off my #1 dream destination of Australia (it soooo did not disappoint!). So, who knows, maybe we’ll be able to cross a country off my 2019 wishlist, too. (fingers crossed 🤞)
Top 19 in ’19 Places I Want to Live
Panama really seems to have it all- mountains and beaches, city and country. They have Atlantic and Pacific within easy driving distance. Plus, they have the Panama Canal. I’ve heard so many stories of people going through the Canal and what a one-of-a-kind experience it was. I took four years of Spanish in high school and would love the excuse to finally use it and possibly become fluent!
Thailand is one of those places I’ve dreamed of going since I first heard the term expat. I’ve heard they’ve been cracking down on visas over the past couple of years due to the influx of expats, but that it’s still totally doable. The price is right, the landscapes are unbelievable, and the people are kind and friendly. I’d love to live in the south, close to the ocean, and have the option to take a $10 bus ride up to Chiang Mai for a long weekend.
Croatia seems like a beautiful combination of Western and Eastern Europe. Sitting right along the Mediterranean Sea, we could enjoy long weekends and holidays hiking the hills, exploring the cities, and diving/snorkeling the underwater world. For longer trips, we would have easy and affordable access to most of Europe. Plus, Heather, from the Extra Pack of Peanuts Podcast, claims Croatia as her favorite country. I’ve got to experience it for myself!
16. South Africa
I know that South Africa gets some bad press. No, I’m not looking for trouble. South Africa is a complicated country, but still with so much to offer. Cities, beaches, African safaris… Want more? How about penguins? They’ve got those, too! I think we could totally do this, see some unforgettable things, and have the time of our lives. If you’re still worried, check out Family Friendly Highlights of South Africa at the Full Suitcase Blog.
Every time I think of the word, Morocco, I hear music playing in my head, I can smell spices drifting past my nostrils, and I see a barrage of colors. I’ve never been, but it’s one place where I always thought it would be fun to visit, until I heard someone talking about living there for a few years. Their story was all about the people, the culture, the hiking, and the beaches. I had never connected Morocco with beaches. Where can I sign up? Plus, I just can’t get enough of the intricate details in their designs.
We very seriously considered moving to Ukraine at the beginning of 2017. Nate lived there before we were married and in ’17 he was looking into going to the Kiev School of Economics. One thing led to another and we ended up in American Samoa instead, but I still want to go. While researching Ukraine, I fell in love with it. It would be a drastic change from our tropical island, but, I think, in a good way.
Cambodia is another one of these inexpensive SE Asian countries, but with less stringent visa requirements and fewer expats, this is a place I could see us exploring and getting to know the people and culture. Living in Cambodia would most likely mean homeschooling the kids again, which would be okay with me, as we would have lots of time for discovering and learning about our new home.
I keep hearing that Portugal is the up and coming place for expats. It’s still relatively inexpensive (compared with other Western European countries) and has a growing community of expat families. Portuguese is pretty close to Spanish, which I’m hoping would make it easier to pick up the language. And who can resist the beaches?
France is definitely a more expensive location to live, but with the right job I would love to have the chance of exploring every corner of this romantic place. Hiking to derelict castles or soaking up the sun on the Southern coasts would make this girl’s dreams come true. And in the winter, the kids might actually be able to experience a white Christmas, which they’ve been missing these past couple years. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind eating French pastries and breads everyday either.
First, I’ve never been to South America, but of all the countries there, Ecuador has long been an intriguing option. I’d looked into working in an orphanage in Quito after high school, but never did. Then later, I had a friend who did that exact thing and LOVED her time and the people there. I’ve regretted not taking my chance ever since. Not only would living there fulfill a long-time dream, but Ecuador seems like a comfortable, safe place from which we could explore much of South America, including the tantalizing Galapagos Islands.
9. New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a French territory in the South Pacific. Picture this: Tropical island living, with delectable French breads and pastries. Those are some of my most favorite things in the world. Even after two years on our little island, I’m not completely ready to leave the South Pacific behind, and New Caledonia seems like the perfect way to keep the weather and warm waters, but add in a little variety in food, culture, and people.
Italian food. Need I say more? Rolling countryside. Not convinced? Birthplace of the Renaissance. Venice. Rome. Sicily. Cinque Terra. Pasta. Pizza. Olive Oil. Cheese. I could keep going all day long (I know, I got back around to food, but how could I not?). I know it’s cliche, but I want to go full Under the Tuscan Sun and buy a house that’s falling apart and bring it back to life. We might not have the funds for that yet, but I’d settle for living there.
From what I’ve heard, Albania is like Croatia, but much less discovered. If you don’t know already, Albania is along the Mediterranean, between Croatia and Greece, both places I’d love to see, along with Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo… Shall I keep going? When I was a kid, my grandma had a neighbor from Albania and she was the sweetest, friendliest lady. If she is anything like others from her home country, then I can’t wait to live there.
I feel like all I’ve been hearing about lately is the food in Vietnam. We love pho, bun, and the other Vietnamese dishes we’ve tried. So, there’s the food. Then, there’s the intricately ornate temples to see. And the landscape… Vietnam looks like a place where I want to get lost in. Okay, not really lost, but I want to spend days, or months, exploring the lush tropical jungles and hillsides. Plus, the price couldn’t be more right.
Here we go with the Spanish thing again. Yes, I’d like to really be able to use my Spanish at some point in my life, even if it’s a little different (imagine Vince Vaughn from The Internship saying, “Barthelona”).Spain is such a big place and I can imagine spending our whole time here, discovering all of it. And if we get bored, we’d have all of Europe or a quick hop across the Straight of Gibraltar to check out Morocco. I want to eat the food, wander the streets of the cities, and hike the country trails.
Malta is an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Italy, that Nate and I stumbled across by flipping through a travel guide we found at a little pastry shop in Roatan, Honduras. Imagine being able to live the island life, just a short flight or boat ride away from everything that is Europe and Africa. The official language is English, so that makes things a lot easier. You get sun-soaked beaches, quiet villages, city life, and fantastic hiking, all mixed into one gorgeous island.
I’ve been interested in Russia for as long as I can remember! Anastasia was one of my favorite movies growing up. I love the architecture and the music, not that techno dance stuff, but those somber productions that make you want to do or say something very dramatic and meaningful. I’m dying to immerse myself in the culture and language. I want it so badly, that I’m willing to live through a Russian winter or two! And that’s saying A LOT!
2. New Zealand
Everyone we’ve ever talked to who has gone to New Zealand has raved about their time there. And of those, probably 90% have said they would move there in a heartbeat. Having never been there, I couldn’t make it my #1, but yeah, I’m dying to see it for myself! I want to climb every mountain, see every waterfall, soak in every warm spring, and wiggle my toes in the sand of every beach.
This should tell you something about Australia. Last year, it was #1 on my list. We made the trip, hoping it wouldn’t disappoint, and here it is again, as my #1. Can I just say how much we loved Australia? Two weeks just wasn’t enough. I want to live here and spend every free day, long weekend, or school break exploring as much of this massive country as I can! Now, if only their visa requirements weren’t so strict… If you know of any companies willing to host an economist from the US, PLEASE let us know!
There you have it. If I could move anywhere in the world, I’d want to live in one of these places. And then a year or two later, try out another, haha.
All things considered- price, safety, natural surroundings, country infrastructure, which places would make your list? Send me your suggestions. Hopefully, I’ll have room on my list for two more next year.
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